Teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking

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A teenager has been arrested in the UK in a joint Scotland Yard and FBI probe into the hacking of websites.

The man, named locally as Ryan Cleary, 19, was arrested in Wickford, Essex. Police have not identified him.

Scotland Yard said the raid followed a series of distributed denial of service attacks.

It comes days after hackers from a group called Lulz Security (LulzSec) attacked a number of websites both in Britain and the United States.

Scotland Yard would not say if Tuesday's raid was connected to LulzSec but said it had been a "pre-planned, intelligence-led" operation.

Computer examined

However, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the Metropolitan Police's e-crimes unit had confirmed the raid was linked to the recent intrusion attacks on the websites of the CIA and Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

It says the teenager's computer was being examined for data linked to Sony, which recently came under cyber attack.

Mr Cleary was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act and is being questioned at a central London police station.

Earlier a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and distributed denial of service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group.

"Searches at a residential address in Wickford, Essex, following the arrest last night, have led to the examination of a significant amount of material. These forensic examinations remain ongoing."

Mr Cleary's mother spoke to BBC Essex and confirmed her son had been arrested at 0330 BST on Tuesday.

She said he had been obsessed with computers since he was 12 and added: "Computers were his world."

An FBI spokesman said it had no comment "at this time".

'Online laughs'

When Lulz Security, or LulzSec, first appeared in May, the group portrayed itself as a light-hearted organisation, bent on creating online fun and Lulz (laughs).

But LulzSec is said to have been planning to establish itself as a rival to Anonymous, the hacking group embroiled in the WikiLeaks fallout.

LulzSec initially targeted US broadcasters PBS and Fox and gaming firms.

But the Twitter page @LulzSec then declared its intention to break into government websites and leak confidential documents.

LulzSec is also suspected of hacking into CIA, Sony and NHS websites.

Gary McKinnon, an unemployed computer programmer who allegedly hacked into Pentagon and Nasa computers, has been fighting extradition to the US since 2002.

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